Episode 23: From monolingual to trilingual: A family’s move to Morocco & their language journey

Episode 23 

On this episode of Bilingual Avenue, Amanda Mouttaki shares how her family moved from the United States to her husband’s home country, Morocco, so that their children could become fluent in French and Arabic.  Amanda, a blogger at MarocMama.com, explains the obstacles, the proud moments and the funny anecdotes they have all shared along the way.

Episode #23 Quick Guide

On this episode, Amanda discusses with us:

  • A quick description of her family’s language background;
  • How she met her husband and how language played a role;
  • Why English was the language most often used in their home while living in the United States;
  • How learning French and Arabic was the primary driver for her family’s move to Morocco;
  • Their schooling choice while living in Morocco where half of day is spent in French and the other half in Arabic;
  • The struggles they faced trying to introduce Arabic to their sons while living in the United States;
  • How they have worked as a family to create a mutual investment and appreciation for their multilingual roots;
  • The expectations they set for their children when entering school full time in Morocco;
  • How it can be difficult at times to have two families in two different parts of the world and how they have coped with the cultural changes;
  • When and how she realized that her oldest son was internalizing and understanding the language in their new community;
  • How her sons decide what language to speak to each other and to other family members;
  • The deeper connection her sons’ now have with her husband’s family because of the new languages they are acquiring;
  • How she’s leveraging travel to expose her children to less academic opportunities to use their new language skills;
  • How as a multicultural family they have made the conscious decision of raising their children with the best of both worlds;
  • Her advice to other parents considering a similar move including:
    • Make the move earlier so that it is easier for the children to meet peers and build friendships at an earlier age,
    • Do not overburden your children after a move because language learning alone can be a big task for little ones;

Once we hop on the Autobahn at Bilingual Avenue, Amanda shares –

  • Favorite resources:
    • Language Apps specifically the Hooked on Phonics App for English and Arabic Writing Apps
  • Best advice received: Take it slow and don’t stress yourself out!
  • What has held her back: Stigmas attached to Arabic in the United States that made her self-conscious when speaking it in public;
  • Great family habit: Keeping language learning a welcoming activity!
  • Favorite Books: Zazou for French!
  • Best Advice to others: Just do it and do it while they are young! Any exposure you can give them is better than no exposure!

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